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February 1996, Week 4


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Marja-Riitta Maasilta <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 21 Feb 1996 09:49:59 +0200
text/plain (67 lines)
> >On another list, the subject of people talking during the film has co=
me up.  I
> >wonder if there has been any research into the subject of "proper" au=
> >behavior in theater and/or film as a historically-defined act.
> >
> >People used to walk around and chat in the pit in Shakespeare's
> >day and old vaudeville and comedia theaters had the audience talking =
back (and
> >sometimes throwing stuff).  As a completely unconfirmed hypothesis, I=
 wonder if
> >the Golden Age of Silence began first in the live theater, c. 1850 or=
 so and
> >spread to cinema only when sound came in.  Other ideas, confirmations=
> >
> >Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
> >
> I don=B4t think that early cinema audiences accepted silence as common=
> take a look at the french-italian film Cinema Paradiso, a very warm fi=
> In the little italian village the screening of films make the people g=
> wild, commentating the plot and so on.
> Ulf Hgaberg
> >----
It seems to me that silence in film theatres is more or less bound to
the culture of public. I have read one very nice empirical study on the
behaviour of African audiences in Mali written by french film professor
Pierre Haffner (I'm almost sure it was in his book Essai sur les fondeme=
du cinema africain, Nouvelles Editions Africaines, 1978) where he descri=
the youngsters and their participation to the happenings on the screens.=
The same difference concerns also theatre publics. One Camerounian theat=
director once told me in Finland how different it is for his group to
play in Europe than in Africa because of the lacking public responses.
I have understood that some African filmmakers have consciously profited=
their films on the fact that people tend to respond the screen happening=
and this has created a new kind of film language.
Mari Maasilta
P.S. In spite of  my bad spelling of English language I will continue to=
part in the discussions of this list. If we (or you Americans) want to b=
international we have to accept some syntax and spelling errors of non-
Americans. The discussion about Dead Man has shown the importance of the=
discussions. The film has not (yet) been shown in Finland but I've got a=
of background information only by following this interesting debate.
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